12 Bookworm Confessions

I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember.

One of my earliest memories of reading was on a long train trip (from Wisconsin to Washington State) with my mom and sisters when I was about six. My mom had brought along Number the Stars, which had won the Newbery a few years earlier, and I picked it up and started flipping the pages.

My mom 100% thought I was just pretending to read it and when I announced that I was done, she asked me some questions about it. To her surprise I actually HAD read the whole thing and was able to tell her (in probably much more detail than she wanted to hear) all about it.

Since then, I’ve done my best to never be without a book, and reading has been one of the great joys of my life (hence twelve years of writing about books here on Everyday Reading).

But behind that love of books, I also keep some bookworm secrets.

And a chilly Monday morning seems like the right time to spill them here. Here are my 12 bookworm confessions – you might be able to relate:


12 Bookworm Confessions

  1. I take my library books on vacation. So far, I’ve never lost a book on vacation (although we did have to go back to the Boston airport one time to retrieve a library book Bart had left in the seat back pocket).
  2. I don’t care that much for Dr. Seuss. There are a handful of his books I like, but overall, I kind of don’t get the insane love for him (and most of his picture books are SO. DANG. LONG). It’s like they were trying to pretend some of his books are picture books when they’re practically chapter books.
  3. I almost never take notes or mark up a book when I’m reading. When I see books that are filled with underlines and notes, I love the idea of having my books so personalized like that. But I never take the time to actually do it myself.
  4. My idea of a bookmark is the library receipt they used to mark my holds. I actually own quite a few lovely bookmarks. But who has time to go dig those out when you’re reading? That paper gets the job done.
  5. I have no real organization system for my books. I get asked all the time about my organization system for my books and . . . I don’t really have one. The librarian in me is cringing. Most of our picture books go in the big bookcase for our playroom and they are roughly divided into fiction and non-fiction, but there are also board books and a couple of shelves of my books and young adult and middle grade books. I keep most of the board books in the nursery, and the adult books scattered between the upstairs bookshelves.
  6. It never gets easier for me to start a new book. No matter how many thousands of books I read, that first page or chapter is almost always a little bit of a slog until I’m into the story and the characters. When I do start a book that grabs me from the first page, it feels like an extra special treat.
  7. I never sound out character or place names that aren’t obvious. I just recognize the name by sight and how it’s pronounced isn’t part of the equation at all for me. Which is only a problem if I’m going to talk about the book in person afterward. In fact, one thing I love about audiobooks is that I know how tricky names of people and places are pronounced and I get a weird satisfaction for knowing the correct pronunciation (but not enough satisfaction to do it myself, obviously).
  8. I hate to borrow books from other people. It’s too much pressure! I want the freedom to return a book to the library unread or to hate a book and not have to report back to the person who loaned it to me that I think the book they raved about was totally boring and I only finished it out of obligation (I learned this lesson the hard way with Eat Pray Love).
  9. The worst part about reading on a Kindle for me is that the text location keeps changing. I’m a pretty visual reader, so I can often remember where on the page something was located, but whenever I read on a Kindle, it’s always changing (I don’t know what that is?) so it’s basically impossible for me to go back and find something.
  10. I lay my books face down with the pages open. I actually didn’t even KNOW this was bad for a book until I did it with one of my books when I was a school librarian and my aide was horrified
  11. I’m a fast reader, but I am not a speed reader, nor do I have any interest in learning how to speed read. I read for fun, not to crank through as many titles as humanly possible and to me, speed reading sounds 100% not fun.
  12. I totally eat while I’m reading (including my library books). A long time ago, a friend told me in great detail about how careful she was with her books, including putting them in ziplock bags when she traveled, and I make a promise to myself right there and then to never borrow books from people who cared deeply about the condition of their books. I’m careful, but I can’t guarantee the book will come back pristine. So it’s just safer not to.

What are your bookworm confessions?

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  1. Me too on about all of these points! And the thing with the Kindle, if you have to cite something, it is impossible to give a page number. Also, while I love the Kindle for some reasons, like always being able to find something to read at night or anytime, if you really love a part of the book, you can’t stroke thevpages!

    1. You can mark or highlight a page, there are a few options. You can also add notes at any section. It saves it all for you and you are able to cite it for papers.

  2. I don’t take baths much anymore, but I used to read in the tub. My sister still does. There’s a definite kind of book that ‘s good for reading in the bath (soft cover, not too thick and NOT a library book), and my sister and I between us only had a handful of books that got submerged. For the record, they can totally be salvaged by drying them out, but they’ll never close flat again . . .

  3. All of these. Pretty much all of these.

    I love books, but I also believe that we need to LIVE with the books. Which means they go in my purse, I read them in the bath (regularly, and have NEVER submerged one), I eat with them, occasionally cookbooks get splashed (you can tell a great recipe when the book opens at that page and it’s stained!)… You gotta live with them!

    And WORD on the Kindle changing the page and messing everything up. I have an excellent visual memory (… back in college, a guy wanted to know the definition of a word from the textbook, so I told him, and he was like ‘you just read that chapter once, in 5 minutes, how do you know’ and I was like ‘it’s on the third page, third column, about 2/3 of the way down the page 2 lines under the bold header’ and when he saw that I was right he literally threw the book at me, CLASSY) and the Kindle just messes it up. I enjoy the convenience of a book always on my phone and being guaranteed to never run out of reading material while stuck in line, but… paper books are my jam.

  4. I’m a yes to all of the above. I have had to replace a couple books I took on a trip once due to sudden car sickness. It was not pretty. But other than that all my food eating while reading and other things haven’t ended badly. Also, “Number the Stars” is one of my first favorite books that I remember. It started my love of historical fiction and especially WWII books!

  5. I also do all of these… but never ever ‘dog ear’ a page to mark my spot because for some reason I just Hate that! Yes to reading in the tub.. even library books. I take my library books on vacation but never let my kids take theirs.. learned that lesson the expensive way! And I love my kindle and iBooks app because it is so darn convenient but don’t love that when I am reading what my kids see is still me looking at a screen. After many years of following you finally started utilizing my requests and holds at the library which I love! (With the exception of when 7 books come in at once and none can be renewed 😉 > )

    1. I recently found the “pause holds” option for my library. Now I don’t have those stacks of unrenewable books all coming home at once!!

  6. I identify so much with these!
    Library books always go on vacation- when I was little, we even made a special trip the library right before leaving to make sure we had enough new books to read on our trip.
    Starting a new book is my least favorite thing- I have to block off a good chunk of time to get into the boo. If I read the first 10 pages and have to stop, there’s a good chance I’ll never get back to it.
    I never borrow books or lend books. I do give away books though, especially if it’s something I enjoyed but I don’t have a strong emotional connection to it, don’t want it back, and I think a friend will appreciate it.
    I lay my books face down. I take them in the tub. I dog-ear the pages. I eat/drink/cook while reading. I believe books are meant to be read and loved and lived with. I have a book with cheeto stains on the pages and every time I read it (I re-read books regularly) I remember how I was crying over a breakup so I ate cheetos and read this book to help feel better. Cheeto stains aside, I try to maintain a basic level of sanitation, but I will never have pristine books and I would never want to try to keep them all pristine.

  7. Last month I read The Dark Heart as a Prime First read. It’s a murder investigation in Sweden. Names were ok to read, but cities, well basically it was like reading all the product names at IKEA.
    And, don’t hate me, but I felt kind if meh about To All the Boys I’ve Loves Before.

  8. All of these, but I’m commenting for number 7. I have never understood why this is a problem for people. It’s like my brain just takes a picture of the name, I don’t need to know how to say it. (Unless, as you said, I’m talking about it.)

  9. Ha ha, I actually started a series on my blog for my bookworm confessions because I started to realize how weird I was just a couple years ago with some of my habits. Some of my confessions:

    *I don’t count audiobooks as reading (though I don’t mind that other people do); therefore, I will only listen to an audiobook if I’ve read the paper version of the book first
    *I have to read books cover to cover to “count” them, including forewords, introductions, and even sometimes the appendices
    *I have a pretty hard time abandoning books (though I have a much easier time doing it on the rare occasion I read one on an ereader) and have only abandoned 7 books in the past two or three years or so (which is exactly a really high number for me! I’m getting better)
    *My reading tastes can sometimes come off as a bit snobby, just because writing style is REALLY important to me
    *I literally own over 400 books I haven’t read (and the number is growing)
    *I have to read multiple books at once. I didn’t realize how much of a compulsion this was until I made myself not start any new book while trying to finish Lord of the Flies earlier this year, and it just about killed me
    *I religiously track which books I’m reading and finishing on my Goodreads account
    *I have several book lists that I’m constantly referring to for recommendations and for books I can cross off

    There’s more, but I think I’d better stop there 🙂

  10. I loved reading these!! So fun. I always use the library hold receipts for my bookmark. Unfortunately my 5 year old does not recognize it as a bookmark and regularly removes them from my books.
    Sometimes at the library I pull out my favorite picture books and put them on display. I’m just trying to help both the librarian and other parents

  11. Same!! Except I don’t leave my books facedown. My son was reading Chamber of Secrets and kept leaving it face down, and he totally broke the spine and now all the pages are falling out. I almost cried when I found it. So now I’m a stickler for correct book usage, ha. But I eat with my books, travel with library books, and never try to sound out the names (even in books like My Lady Jane, where they tell you the correct pronunciation at the beginning!). And I never never borrow books (or even promise people that I’ll read a book they like). Sometimes it’s a book that I know I’ll like, but just the stress of knowing I’ll have to report back to them makes me like the book less. I’d much rather get my books from the library and not be required to give an opinion if I don’t want to… though this doesn’t stop me from recommending books to everyone I know, ha!

  12. Yes to these, especially the Dr. Seuss one! People are always so appalled when they learn that I don’t prefer his books. And they are SO long.

  13. I think we’ve possibly discussed this before but I am so with you especially on dr Seuss. So many teacher friends are obsessed with his books but I just don’t understand the appeal. Even as a kid I found them tedious to read.

  14. Sitting with a new reader trying to get through Green Eggs and Ham about did me in. I remember liking the 500 hats story and Horton when I was a kid, but I haven’t reread them as an adult, so I might hate them now too.

    My husband HATES when I leave books face down, and he isn’t even a reader.

  15. I am with you on 11/12 of these. The only one I differ on is that I like Dr. Seuss.

    The pronunciation bit is so bad that I have been know to talk about the s-boy or i-girl in classes, and when people looked at me like I had 5 heads, I then realized that was not a common way to deal with the problem.

    It’s bad to eat and read?? Uh oh. Lol.

    I have paid for a few library books: 2 for water, 1 for puppy chews.

  16. I also dislike Dr. Seuss. The other classic book that I don’t care for is Where the Wild Things Are. It does nothing for me. I love to read but I don’t always notice/appreciate good writing. I definitely read for the story/plot. We have a wonderful public library here that pretty much buys any book I request so I never buy books.

  17. Oh boy. I totally take library books on vacation, dont even think twice about it. One time I left two board books in the plane seat in Santa Barbara and the library wanted $25 a piece for them!! I just kept renewing and hoping for good luck. Someone from the airport actually returned them. I always use the receipt for bookmark as well. I hate the princess and barbie books at the library, and my 2 yr old always wants to bring home 100 of them and the early reader curious george books. I have acid free crafting scotch tape specifically to fix ripped pages. Luckily it doesn’t happen very often. But I’m way good at putting those pages back together.

  18. Hello, my name is Jenae [hi, Jenae] and I dog ear book pages. Even library books… even borrowed books. Im just that bad a**.

  19. Once at a career fair a company left a box full of these bookmarks that have a a bunch of those skinny book flag stickers on them (hard to explain, just think of a bookmark with post-its attached). I grabbed STACKS of them and they’ve been so great for reading library books that I want to mark up but can’t. I generally only mark up/flag non-fiction books, but sometimes in a fiction book there are passages that are so poignant or beautiful that I want to record them.

    I don’t know if this is a confession so much as a practice, but I almost never buy a book I haven’t already read….even cheap books at the thrift store. Why pay for a book when I can get it for free from the library? Sometimes I’ll be reading a non-fiction book that I mark with a million flags, so then I’ll buy my own copy before I read further so that I can mark it up as I go.

  20. I’m so glad to read #6 especially. I thought something was wrong with me! I love to read, love to buy books and I have stacks and stacks of books waiting to be read. But I just hate starting a new book. I feel such dread that sometimes I will just read something I’ve already read yo calm my mind! So bizarre!

  21. I definitely take library books on vacation. Back when I read a lot less than I do now I’d always pick out and buy a new book from Target for each trip but then that came back to bite me too many times with buying ehhhh books so now I take MULTIPLE options, including rereads that I own and library books. I also need A LOT more than 1 book for most trips now.

    And yes to it being hard to start a new book! ALWAYS. Which is why I always read the jacket copy first, I feel like I need my bearings before I dive in.

  22. I wouldn’t say I’m super picky about my books, but I haven’t had the best luck with loaning them out. One was lost (and replaced), but another I loaned out to a high school student in my ward and she returned it in appallingly horrible condition. I think I just threw it away. It was dirty and torn and I couldn’t fathom how it got that way.

  23. I loved reading these! When I was younger, through high school even, I would never ever dog ear a page and got so mad when my dad did that to the books I shared with him (the only person I’ve lent my books to). Now? I dog ear, I eat, I spill in cookbooks. I’ve read in the bath every single day since I was a toddler.

    The names thing got me, too! When I first read the Harry Potter books, I thought Hermione was pronounced her-my-own-ee, and when my friend Caitlin said something to me about her pronouncing it correctly, I was all, “Oh, yeah, Hermione is awesome!” But on the inside thinking “… oh. That’s how you say it. I’m a giant idiot.” Ha! So I can definitely relate!!

  24. Omg Dr Seuss!!! Thank you for that, I thought it was just me! And I always borrow books from people but recently I’ve been stuck with a couple of books that I don’t feel like reading anymore but I don’t know how to just return them =/
    I relate to lots of these actually!

    I’m guilty of boring people with great detail of the book I’m currently enjoying or an app or device that has to do with reading.

    I always carry a handag that’s big enough to fit a book.

    I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember, and when I was younger, I was a major introvert. So I’d read a book when people came home and leave my sister to entertain them.

  25. The names! I’m such a visual person. I’m terrible at getting the names mixed up when talking about the book. But not while reading!

    I am super picky about books on vacation. When the book doesn’t match the location it’s too much of a distraction for me. It’s like being on two different planets. And I don’t enjoy either. It is amazing when the book fits the feel of the place. Like reading The Secret Garden in Copenhagen. Lonesome Dove on a trip out to west Texas. Christmas with the Kranks audiobook while driving across a few states on a winter road trip.

    If someone wants to loan me a book, I’ll ask if they want me to return it or pass it along when I’m done. If they want me to return it I will 100% not read it. Just return it ASAP and tell them I didn’t get to it. I just cannot enjoy a book while I’m thinking about what the book-loaner thought about the book. It feels like wearing someone else’s shoes.

    I have the hardest time getting into many books written by men with a female lead or narrator. It is such a peeve of mine if they get something essential about the feminine perspective wrong.

  26. matts super careful with his books- mine look like the velveteen rabbit ( well loved) so I’m not allowed to read his or lend them out.

  27. Yes to pretty much all of these! Except Dr. Seuss 😉 He won my heart as a child and I love reading rhyming books to my kids. My confession: there are a few classics that I want to love so badly but can’t get into. One is Little Women. I have attempted reading it 4 times(including audiobook) and cannot get past the second chapter. 😬

  28. Love these! I can relate especially to 3, 6, and 7. As an English teacher, I am a bit ashamed my books aren’t marked up as I instruct students LOL. Also, I LOVE LOVE reading but I HATE starting books and it hinders me from reading as much as I would like. I always thought this made no sense, so I am SO glad that you put this into words!! 🙂

  29. I feel like I’m one of the few bookworms who thinks it’s possible to own too many books. I borrow almost everything from the library, I rarely go to bookstores, and I only buy a book if it’s (1) a biography or history book that I want to really study and be able to refer back to later or (2) a book that I love so much that I’m on my third time reading it.

    I love eating while I read! It’s my favorite way to enjoy dessert!

  30. This is such a great post! I LOVE a worn book. So I have learned who NOT to borrow from (my sister). Me on the other hand, I practically beg people to borrow my books so I can add their name to the inside cover (I like to keep track of who has read them). I too, take library books anywhere I would take a book that I own.

  31. I agree with you on all of these, ESPECIALLY feeling obligated to read books from other people. I’m 35, I don’t need homework. My confession is I bring books into the bathtub all the time. I typically exclusively get books from the library, but when I’m traveling on a plane my ritual is to treat myself to an airport novel and an iced coffee.

  32. I’m currently a first year law student and everyone complains about how much reading is required. On the other hand I love it! On top of the approximately 350 pages of textbook reading a week, I make sure I still read for pleasure every day. My pleasure reading involves both audio and regular books.

  33. I use random things as bookmarks too (despite having many proper ones). I love using thick clothing labels for bookmarks. Neon Buddha’s are my favorite lol
    Have you tried using book darts vs highlighting/written notes/dogears? A very bookish friend turned me on to them. – so good for non fiction!

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